Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I gave vodka to a homeless guy. Am I going to hell?

A month ago I was buying two big bottles of rum for an upcoming party and the store clerk threw in a small "airplane bottle" of Smirnoff as a gift for my large purchase. I hate vodka, so while I was unlocking my bike I noticed a homeless guy sitting on the steps a few feet away. I asked him, "Hey man, you like vodka?" His eyes lit up and he responded, "Yea man!" So I tossed the bottle his way and he drank it on the spot all in one gulp.

I did this without thinking much, but it's been lingering on my conscience since. Most middle class people from the suburbs who now live in cities (like me) don't give money to homeless people because they "just spend it on alcohol or drugs." But being homeless is horrible enough, so why not cut out the medium of exchange and make someone's day pass smoother with a nip of my neighborhood bum's favorite tipple? The problems the nation's homeless go through are likely so complicated that giving or not giving them change will make no difference. had a funny thing about how white people think they "know what's best for poor people." It's so true, isn't it? How about we let poor people make their own decisions?

Or maybe I'm an asshole.
You are an asshole but so am I.

A couple years ago I gave out gift bags to panhandlers in Cleveland at Christmas. I had a sandwich, water, snacks, and a 40oz of MGD. Guess what was the biggest hit?
If it made someone's day a bit better, it was probably a good thing. If you saw him immediately chug it and then drop his head, rip off his "30 days sober" chip and throw it in a river then, yes, you are going to hell.

Burger King caught on to my little scam years ago, I'd call their 800 number and complain that I got a bad whopper or something, they'd get my address (you need to use a few) and mail me a bunch of coupons. I'd then give these out to homeless guys. Bet they'd have preferred the vodka.
Maybe in D.C., rather than other locales, homelessness is related predominantly to substance abuse but generally homelessness can be related to 1) the lack of affordable housing, 2) lack of work, 3) unyielding & unbreakable poverty, 4) lack of healthcare, 5) mental illness, and 6) lots of misc. things. Consider that in the financial mess our nation is in some of the biggest concerns striking fear in the hearts and minds of far too many citizens is that about 1/2 of the above list could happen to them. One prescription for both the homeless and those who fear that they might become homeless is showing them some kindness. So, while pitching the guy a 2 ounce bottle of booze might not be the ideal thing to solve a homeless persons future, it probably made his day that someone cared enough to help ease his pain. I've never heard of anyone going to hell for demonstrating kindness to someone less fortunate than themselves.
It's only an airplane bottle. I think that's purgatory or maybe a few dozen novenas.
You are already in hell. Good news is that you will get out on January 20, 2009
LB....why? you where only "practicing" medicine
Hey man, I'm from DC and if I happen to have something to give to a homeless guy/gal...what the heck? But, I'll always humbly ask them if they want it, rather then assume they should want whatever a paycheck recipient has to offer.
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